If you can pay, you will pay

A CRACKDOWN on "can pay, won't pay" protesters, who choose a stint in jail rather than stumping up for a fine, was announced yesterday.

Tommy Sheridan, MSP, went to jail six years ago for refusing to pay a fine imposed for his part in a Faslane naval base protest. Last year, his former SSP colleague Carolyn Leckie was jailed for refusing to pay a 150 fine after another Faslane protest.

But Cathy Jamieson, the justice minister, said the measures being introduced as part of the new Criminal Proceedings (Reform) Bill would bring an end to such situations.

She told the Scottish Parliament that a new post of fines enforcement officer was to be created in courts with powers to secure payment.

"We will take steps and we will take measures in this bill to end the ludicrous position where some people who can pay and could pay do not do it, but instead opt to go into prison at greater expense to the public purse," she said.

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